"House Negro" (also "House Nigger") is a pejorative term for a black person, used to compare someone to a house slave of a slave owner from the historic period of legal slavery in the United States. The term comes from a speech "Message to the Grass Roots" (1963) by African American activist Malcolm X, wherein he explains that during slavery, there were two kinds of slaves: "house Negroes", who worked in the master's house, and "field Negroes" (also "field Niggers"), who performed the manual labor outside.
He characterizes the house Negro as having a better life than the field Negro, and thus unwilling to leave the plantation and potentially more likely to support existing power structures that favor whites over blacks. Malcolm X identified with the field Negro. The term is used against individuals, in critiques of attitudes within the African American community, and as a borrowed term for critiquing parallel situations.